Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Belated Christmas Gift the City Commission Could Give to the Taxpayers of Brownsville: Lincoln Park

One of two heavily used ballfields at Lincoln Park
As our youthful City Commission disperses to their individual Christmas parties, family gift exchanges and holiday meals, Brownsville's beleaguered taxpayers may not even notice what is NOT under the tree; the precious, versatile, widely used Lincoln Park.

The prevailing impression that Lincoln Park is now safe starts with the misleading, cleverly worded agenda item presented April 21, 2015:

"Consideration and ACTION on a resolution to authorize City staff to continue discussions with the University of Texas Board of Regents regarding the planned location of the UT-RGV campus within the City of Brownsville focusing on alternatives to the Lincoln Park site."

This blog attempted to explain at the time how this agenda item did nothing to prevent the eventual sale or transfer of Lincoln Park to the ultra-rich University of Texas system:

"The condensed resolution above and its more lengthy sister in the binder is merely a ruse, an apparent attempt to temporarily pacify opponents to including Lincoln Park in any package to placate UT. While it suggests looking for alternatives, it does not demand it. City officials can simply return to the commission with: "We tried, but cannot find an acceptable alternative to Lincoln Park."

Attorney Michael Cowen evidently fears as much as a portion his comment states: 

'But this fight may not be over. The resolution passed last night may just be a way to provide political cover until after the election, and those who want to give away the park may still try to get their way.'"

The real, thinly disguised purpose of the April 21, 2015 meeting was to replace the earlier resolution, which included the illegal participation of Commissioner Rose Gowen, whose employment with UT is a clear conflict of interest.  With Gowen's abstention on the April 15 resolution, a vehicle to eventually deliver Lincoln Park to UT, uncluttered by a conflict of interest, is now in place.

The University of Texas Board of Regents did not comport themselves with dignity or intelligence, taking a huge public relations hit for the carnivorous nature of their greediness in extracting one more precious tract of land from the most impoverished community in the U.S. in exchange for a continuing the eastern portion of a satellite campus in Brownsville.  Here is this blog's description of their actions from the April 21 story:

"UT may be rich, with a good football team most years, but they get a solid "F" in public relations. While the UT Regents backslapped themselves silly at their El Paso board meeting that followed the town hall meeting on Lincoln Park, giddily reminding themselves of the bargain steal they got from a Hispanic community in extreme south Texas, literally the poorest in the U.S., they came off as dumbass goobers. If UT cannot live without the 49 acres of Lincoln Park, let them write the check for a better park in Brownsville's Southmost barrio, not gloat over stealing it from a naive City Commission fronted by a groveling Mayor Martinez. En otros palabras, show some class!"

The belated Christmas gift some city commissioner could give to the taxpayers would be to sponsor an agenda item in early 2016 to take Lincoln Park unequivocally "off the table" for conveyance or sale to UT.  If you need a model, use the John Villarreal/Rick Longoria reconsideration of the new logo if you must.  Actually Rick and John could demonstrate that their reversal on Lincoln Park was genuine and sincere, not simply a political response to outraged voters, by co-sponsoring such an agenda item.

More realistically, Commissioner Cesar de Leon could his demonstrate that his reference to heeding his father's advice to "listen to the people" was not just political rhetoric, but a modus operandi for his public service.  Commissioner Tetreau may want to be included in the effort even after her first attempt to take Lincoln Park off the table was stymied, stifled and squelched by mealy-mouthed City Attorney Mark Sossi.

1 comment:

  1. LNG is blasting the Matamoros radio station with ads promising jobs, in Spanish. Have yet to hear one in English. They are advertising to the low wage, non English speaking worker market. Are these the "good" jobs they promised in exchange for destroying our environment and tax breaks from us American tax payers?



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